Nov 25

1st Sunday of Advent (Year C)

Jeremiah 33:14-16
  • If you are looking to start a new tradition during Advent, you may want to set up a “Jesse Tree” in your worship space.  It is a wonderful expression of hope and expectation, which makes it perfect for Advent.
  • As I am writing this, there is a great deal of unrest in the Middle East and Jerusalem; so, the words “Jerusalem will live in safety” really jump off of the page.  How do we wrestle with these words in the midst of conflict?  How are we comforted by these words?
  • The reference to the “righteous Branch” is typically understood as a reference to Christ.  You may want to decorate your worship space with a cross made of branches.  Or, you may want to use a large branch in your worship display (perhaps propped up next to the table, or laid dramatically across the back of the table).
Psalm 25:1-10
  • This Psalm – just as it is – is practically perfect for use as a Prayer of Confession.
  • As we begin our Advent journey, it is good for us to consider how we prepare ourselves while we prepare the way.
1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
  • Do we thank God for the gift that we have in one another?  How might we be able to show God (and others) that we are thankful?
  • Most craft stores and other discount stores sell blank notecards and envelopes (often in bulk, so they are fairly affordable).  Get enough notecards for everyone (including kids and youth) in your congregation to have at least one.  Distribute them during worship, along with pens/markers/colored pencils, and invite everyone to write a thank you note to someone.  If it is possible, include stamps on each envelope (so that they can mail the notes following worship).
  • You could use this text to introduce a “prayer partner” program in your congregation (that could continue after Advent, not just during this season).  There are lots of ways that you could coordinate and organize a prayer partner program.  One way is to randomly choose names out of a hat (similar to a secret santa program).
  • What if we replace the “you” in this text with “Christ”?  Could this be a prayer to our Savior?
Luke 21:25-36
  • This always seems like an odd text for the first Sunday of Advent (even though it – or a text like it – shows up every year).  So many of the folks in the pews are expecting talk of angels, shepherds, or young women giving birth – but, first we have this text.
  • While it may seem strange, it really is a fitting text to read as we begin our Advent journey.  When all the world seems to be falling apart – when there are rumors of wars and strange signs in the skies – that is when the Christ is near.  It really is a powerful message of hope.
  • If you decide to focus on Jesus’ parable of the fig tree, you may want to include some figs and/or fig leaves in your worship decor.  You could even make your worship display interactive by allowing people to taste some figs.
  • Jesus warns us to not be “weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life”.  If you are exploring this particular part of the passage, then you could decorate your worship space with boxes, bags, and bottles that are labeled “dissipation”, “drunkenness”, and “worries”.  You could also use a variety of synonyms for those words to add variety (and address the fact that there may be kids/others who will have no idea what “dissipation” means).

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